one house, five families, 200 years of history

the Caldwells

Josiah and Lucy Caldwell bought this house on Elm Street in 1822. The Caldwells believed in the moral power of home and family, and their beliefs inspired a radical mission. The Caldwells were local leaders in the international struggle to end slavery.

The Caldwells had no children. In 1836, they brought their young niece Margaret into their home and later adopted her. They were a family of reformers. Josiah led the Ipswich Anti-Slavery Society. Lucy held meetings of the Ipswich Female Anti-Slavery Society in the parlor. Margaret attended the Ipswich Female Seminary, which prepared her for a career as a teacher.


Lithograph, "Married," mid-1800s


the parlor

When the Caldwells bought this house in 1822, it was more than 50 years old. They remodeled the facade in the new Greek Revival style. They also modernized the interior, covering the paneling in both parlors with plaster and wallpaper and placing stoves in the fireplaces.